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Investment Firm Purchases Bell Sports

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SAN JOSE, CA/USA (16 June 2000)–The US investment firm Chartwell Investments will gain controlling interest in bike helmet and accessory manufacturer Bell Sports Corporation. The transaction, which has already been approved by Bell’s board of directors and stockholders, is expected to close by midÒAugust.Brentwood Associates and Charlesbank Capital Partners LLC, presently the company’s principal shareholders, […]

SAN JOSE, CA/USA (16 June 2000)–The US investment firm Chartwell
Investments will gain controlling interest in bike helmet and accessory
manufacturer Bell Sports Corporation. The transaction, which has already
been approved by Bell’s board of directors and stockholders, is expected to close by midÒAugust.Brentwood Associates and Charlesbank Capital Partners LLC, presently the company’s principal shareholders, as well as certain key management
personnel
and other investors, will retain “a modest level of investment” in the company following the recapitalization, according to a press release.Bell will also expand its Specialty Division product marketing, inside sales, research and development and design teams at its operation in Santa Cruz, California. At the same time, Bell Sports’ corporate and mass market personnel will be relocated from San Jose to Dallas, Texas, in November.
“Dallas is the right place for Bell to be,” said Richard Willis, who has been named president and chief executive officer as part of the recapitalization. “It is a fast growing community, centrally located and has a tremendous talent pool. This move allows us same-day access to all our key customers and puts us very close to our domestic distribution centers.”
Mary George will become executive chairman of the board of Bell Sports Corporation on completion of the transaction. Besides Willis’ promotion, Jay Romasco has been named senior vice president, Global IBD sales; Thom Parks, vice president, corporate affairs; Mike Bellick, vice president, Global Wal-Mart team; John Cristiano, vice president, Mass Divison Sales; John Doerr, vice pressident, supply chain management; and Kurt Kemppainen, vice president product development and sourcing. All employees affected by the Dallas and Santa Cruz moves will have the opportunity to relocate, according to Willis.
Bell markets its helmets under the Bell, Bell Pro and Giro brand names, and its bicycle accessories under the Bell, Blackburn, Rhode Gear, VistaLite and Spoke-Hedz brands. Chartwell Investments is an private equity firm based in New York. It recently completed a $200-million acquisition of Playcore, Inc., a leading US playground equipment and backyard products company. (WJ)

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